Sports Champions 2
It feels like only yesterday that Sony unveiled their Wii-beating motion control peripheral PS Move to a largely unenthusiastic gaming public. It might have been a case of too little too late, but the fact is the technology worked and no game displayed this more admirably than the much lauded Sports Champions. However here we are two years later and with precious few exceptional Move titles queuing up to take punters hard earned cash. What ever are people to do? Make a sequel of course! And what a sequel it turned out to be. More sports, more champions, more gruelling sweat on the forehead of lazy gamers everywhere!
While the original Sports Champions threw together just enough fun activities to ensure that it wasn’t an exact rip-off of Wii Sports, SC2 is comfortable enough in it’s own skin to pillage not only the best on Nintendo’s console, but also the Archery mode from the first SC game. In fact most of the modes are logical progressions from the previous instalment. 10 Pin Bowling replaces Boccie, Table Tennis has become a full blown Wimbledon match, Disc Golf has become plain old Golf and the Gladiator Duel has transformed into a modern day boxing match. Rounding out the experience is a Skiing challenge, which seems like an odd choice but works out nicely.
Each challenge can be attempted in a free play mode, a cup tournament or the inevitable party play mode. Meaning that there’s plenty of time for good hosts to perfect their skills on the game before making friends play it after a few lager-shandies on a quiet evening in. What’s more you can craft and customise individual champions, to varying degrees of silliness, all adding to the fun of the package. In fact the entire interface is welcoming, slick and intuitive, actively encouraging you to have fun with it, something the similarly themed Move Fitness failed utterly at.
The games themselves are all enjoyable fun. The Bowling will be familiar to anyone who has played a motion based bowling game (There are many) It’s fun to play, easy to use and a great laugh with friends. Along with the Archery these make up the group fun games of the bunch. With many modes and set lengths to fiddle with. The Skiing makes for an energetic and silly bit of slaloming madness, whilst the Golf and Tennis are decent enough versions although hardly an original inclusion. The Tennis unfortunately has that letdown that comes with using any Move game in a small room. Play vigorously or with a friend and half the time the camera can’t see the controller and returns go awry. The absolute standout however is the Boxing mode. Grab up a pair of controllers and prepare to walk away aching. This is a better workout that Zumba, forcing calculated play and aimed shots the likes of which remind of the Fight Night series.
Each of the games takes good advantage of the Move’s high-accuracy positioning controls, meaning that it’s easy to put a fine degree of spin on Bowling balls and throw well-aimed Hay-makers in the boxing ring with ease. The games also have lengthy tutorials and varying degrees of difficulty which ramp up surprisingly in the Gold and Champion levels. It’s in this aspect that one of the cribs about the game appears. More often than not, this simply means your opponent will almost certainly never miss, or sport almost inhuman abilities of precognition. While it’d be nicer to see more careful AI in use in these moments it’s a bit much to ask for in a wide all rounder title like this. As a follow-up to Sports Champions it’s a damn good piece of entertainment and sits easily within the hardly cluttered arena of must-have PS Move titles.